Famous Lost City of the Incas

One of the most emotive and beautiful archaeological sites in the world is the great lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu, located high in the Peruvian Andes and discovered (or rediscovered) in 1911 by an American explorer named Hiram Bingham (who is sometimes compared to the fictional Indiana Jones).

But what was the purpose of the site?  And was it really a city?  This article from MSNBC discusses recent research which suggests it was not in fact a city, but was rather a “pilgrimage center symbolically connected to the Andean vision of the cosmos.” 

Yet, as the MSNBC article goes on to relate, Machu Picchu, among other things, has been variously described as the birthplace of the Inca people, their final stronghold from Spanish plunderers, and the home of one of their rulers named Pachacuti.  So, is this new interpretation, offered by Italian researchers, merely to be one more entry in the long list of efforts made to explain this strange place, or is the riddle now solved?       

If you’d like to read more about the Incas and Machu Picchu (and maybe even take a turn at developing your own ideas about this mysterious ancient wonder), Greensboro Public Library has lots of books, such as Machu Picchu by Deborah Kops (juvenile); The White Rock:  An Exploration of the Inca Heartland and A Sacred Landscape: The Search for Ancient Peru, both by Hugh Thomson; National Geographic Investigates Ancient Inca:  Archaeology Unlocks the Secrets of the Inca’s Past by Beth Gruber (juvenile); The Inca Ruins of Machu Picchu by Jennifer Silate (juvenile); The Machu Picchu Guidebook:  A Self-guided Tour by Ruth M. Wright and Alfredo Valencia Zegarra; Lost City of the Incas:  The Story of Machu Picchu and Its Builders by Hiram Bingham; The Last Days of the Incas:  The Story of the Longest Guerilla War in the Americas by Kim MacQuarrie; and Along the Inca Road:  A Woman’s Journey Into an Ancient Empire by Karin Muller.

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